Mini laptops meet a need in a mini niche comprised of business users, students and education professionals, and traveling families who want to take their media with them but still want to keep the power and performance of a laptop over a tablet. The Lenovo ThinkPad X131e netbook has a rugged design that protects a powerful interior. These small laptops feature a powerful AMD processor with integrated graphics and Dolby surround sound. This netbook isn’t a gaming powerhouse like many high-end laptops, but when it comes to netbook computers, the ThinkPad is excellent and earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
The X131e model has an AMD processor, but you wouldn’t lose computing power if you were to get something with an Intel CPU. This netbook supports a Fusion E2-1800 from AMD, which is one of the company’s most up-to-date CPUs for this size of laptop. The CPU has a 1.7GHz speed, which is slower than average for a standard laptop, but for these general-use netbooks, it is above average. With the AMD processor, you still get integrated graphics, which means you won’t be using this device to play graphic-intensive games. However, the Radeon HD 8000 series graphics chip offers more core and shader speed than many Intel HD graphics cards.
The Lenovo comes with 4GB of RAM, which is standard on almost all laptops. You can upgrade to 8GB if you want a little more memory for your tasks. The base model comes with a 500GB hard drive, which is more than enough space with all the options for cloud storage these days. It’s a little weird that Lenovo charges an extra $240 to upgrade to a 128GB SSD hard drive. Although it is a solid-state drive, paying that much money for less space doesn’t make any sense, even with online cloud storage.
Even without a SSD, this computer can hold a battery charge for eight and a half hours. This is above average for netbooks and makes this a perfect laptop for on-the-go business meetings or entertaining kids on a long car ride. The Dolby surround sound adds great support for your media needs.
The device supports an 11.6-inch display with an anti-glare finish, giving the screen a wider viewing angle. It’s only a 1366-by-786-pixel display, but the HD resolution makes movies and other media look colorful with deep contrast. A thick bezel defends the LED panel against scratches when you close the screen. You can upgrade to a touchscreen, but that costs a couple hundred dollars more.
Lenovo includes a trackpad and its patented pointing stick, which is great if you are a hardcore Lenovo fan. Otherwise, we found the trackpad responsive and great for all tasks. The keyboard is laid out so that the keys don’t seem bunched together. We certainly noticed how easy it is to type. The design has reinforced hinges along with stainless steel hinge brackets and enhanced shock performance, so this netbook can take on the impacts of everyday life on the go.
The Lenovo ThinkPad comes with a HD webcam that records video in 720p. It isn’t ideal for low-light situations because much of the picture becomes pixilated, but you will find that this is the case with almost all laptops on the market. The ThinkPad has three USB 3.0 ports, which is a super-speed port that transfers data 10x faster than its 2.0 predecessor. This means you can copy HD movies with file sizes that reach up to 25GB in fewer than two minutes, whereas it would take almost 15 minutes to do so through USB 2.0 port.
There is no optical drive on this small laptop, but the VGA and HDMI adapters make it easy to hook it up to computer monitors and even HDTVs. The model we looked at doesn’t have a touchscreen, but you can opt for one if you buy one of the more expensive models. It is more money, but a touchscreen gives you more durability and options than a touchpad or a mouse.
Lenovo offers live chat customer service if you just don’t want to wait on the phone or for an email reply. It is quick, though sometimes you may be asked to wait to be transferred to the right department. The support center is flush with help resources, including forums, driver updates, software downloads and even offers a way to diagnose and fix your computer. Lenovo Training Solutions has even more options that include courses on the company’s computers and even how to use Windows 8.
The ThinkPad X131e from Lenovo fits a variety of lifestyles. Whether you are always on the road for business, looking for a computer for your kid for school or you are an educator looking to upgrade your school’s line of computers, this netbook model fits the bill. It has enough CPU and memory to easily multitask, and plenty of storage. It is rugged enough to stand up to almost anything.
Warranty & Support